PhoneZune becomes Air Pick Voice and leaves us impressed at WPUG
If you weren't aware of the event or you've been hiding under a rock the past few weeks, there was a Windows Phone User Group (WMPUG) meet up yesterday in London, which both myself and Jay Bennett attended. As well as having Will from Windows Phone UK making a brief appearance, we had a handful of developers (including Alan Mendelevich from AdDuplex and Lawrence Gripper) with two walking the audience through their apps.
One of the presentations was of Air Pick Voice (APV) by KeyboardP. Wait, that name rings a bell? Indeed it does as we've covered KeyboardP's project before, but under a different name - PhoneZune. APV will allow the user to control their music collection (on a PC workstation or laptop) via the WiFi, using an app on their Windows Phone. What makes this really special is that it's all voice controlled. From manipulating playback, to selecting songs, you no longer need to be in the same room as the PC to 'pump up the jam' your way.
To refresh your memory of what this project will allow you to do, check out the video below, and we'll advance on with what's new in terms of development and features for version 1 (which is just around the corner).
So what was presented at the WPUG meet up? Not just the rebranding, of course. APV is going to be huge, and wont just merely be a service that you use occasionally but it'll improve your music listening experience and enjoyment as a whole. Support for VLC, the popular open source and cross-platform media player, was announced that brings new features to the table that weren't entirely possible with Zune (though Zune is still supported should you wish to use it - and is required for VLC playback).
As well as controlling playback for music that's playing through VLC on your PC (and more than likely using PC speakers in the same room), the user will be able to stream the playlist to their handset should they be outside or in a different room and don't wish to become a public/family nuisance. This is all done over WiFi and is completely locally dependent. Note that no final UI has been presented, so we're also excited to see how the app will look and feel.
To compliment the app, we have the Voice Recognition Lab, which will be released on Windows. This suite will provide the user with necessary tools to alter the recognition values should problems arise with accents, song titles and more. For example; Sonne by Ramstein - the song isn't pronounced as in its text form so we could alter the the software to recognise "Zonne" by entering it into the "My Pronunciation" field. Check out the video below for a walkthrough of the software.
We're not finished yet. "What?! There's more?!" Of course, as stated above, APV is pretty darn feature rich. If you require more than voice control, streaming and the means to personalise the experience, then how about the ability to create playlists from your library of music while on the go? The database of your library is synchronised to your phone, not the files, so you're able to add songs here and there while you have a few minutes to spare when commuting and whatnot. When you're back at home, the playlist can either be loaded on the app or transferred to the PC for local use as well.
It gets better though; custom ringtones. Possibly the most tedious task to complete with trimming tracks, editing track data, adding to Zune/Mac Connector and then synchronising to the handset. With APV we can achieve all of the above within the app and in a matter of seconds. APV will trim the track and it'll then be added to your ringtones list with the press of an on-screen button. Should you already have a ringtone on your PC, you can simply drag that file into the Voice Recognition Lab and the APV app will then be able to grab it without any cabling. This is one of the features that left both myself and Jay really impressed at the presentation. Something that many Windows Phone users could take advantage of.
That's the gist of Air Pick Voice wrapped up in a nutshell so far and we have a feeling this could be big with the community. We'll certainly keep an eye on this project closely. Should you be interested to find out more about APV, head on over to KeyboardP's blog and follow him on Twitter.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
I know exactly what you mean about 'Windows Phone' inside 'Windows Phone' and I love the idea. Whilst I'll naturally be using the Metro look and feel, I vaguely remember there were some issues with directly copying the home screen. I'll have to look into that as I may be misremembering. I think the ideas of tiles itself is fine since that's what Metro is about so it's certainly something I've been thinking about. Since there are so many features in the app, the trick will be to keep the UI simple, intuitive and seamless. Thanks again!
Pick your track
With your voice The name derivation is epic :)
1 How much? and
2 Give it to me.
Cheers to the dev :-).
Hopefully you find the app starts to work for you when it's released. If not, then let me know why not and hopefully I can add features to make it better! Thanks for the support :)